Orthodox rabbis set up group to examine Ofsted inspections

Orthodox rabbis set up group to examine Ofsted inspections

Chinuch UK forms body to scrutinise the education watchdog's inspections for conduct and legality as row over religious education continues

Leading Orthodox rabbis have set up a working group to scrutinise Ofsted inspections for conduct and legality.

The announcement from Chinuch UK represents the latest move in an ongoing war between religious Jews and the national inspectorate.

A series of recent downgrades has set the Orthodox establishment on a collision course with Ofsted, which maintains the legal necessity to teach children about protected characteristics such as gender and sexuality.

In a letter to members, Chinuch UK Working Group chair Rabbi Nessanel Lieberman said they would be monitoring inspections, including “whether the independent schools standards have been properly interpreted and the judgements are lawful”.

He added that the group would also examine “the conduct of assessors” and “patterns within inspections”.

The latest downgrade came in October, when London school Beis Madrash Elyon was categorised as “inadequate”.

In his report, the inspector said the school’s leaders “insisted” he make no mention of protected characteristics such as sexual orientation to pupils during his visit, despite schools being required to teach these under the Equalities Act 2010. He said the school’s leaders knew this meant independent school standards were not being met.

Lieberman said Chinuch UK had set up a helpline for schools to call during inspections, adding that his group “will have regular meetings with Ofsted leaders, in order to explore solutions to problems and to promote greater awareness and sensitivity in relation to Chinuch UK schools”.

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